Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Rotten Apple

The governor in the state where I live likes to use the phrase business-friendly. He drops it at every turn.

To restore our state's standing, he says, we must become more business-friendly. We must release business from the burdensome restrictions of regulation and taxation so that they might run free, like Labrador retrievers in a backyard.

However quixotic the picture of dogs running free in backyards might be, I'd be more concerned their owner possesses a Pooper Scooper and a plastic bag.

And so it is with business.

What Bruce Rauner and other misguided conservatives don't realize is that our businesses are already running free.

The corporate tax rate is a fraction of what it was during the Eisenhower administration. (You can look it up.) Regulations and consumer protections are regularly put on a back burner when they're not repealed outright or made unenforceable by budget cuts which gut inspection staffs.

We have tax loopholes a visually-impaired drunkard could fly a 747 through, and yet it's not enough. Like the employees they hold in such contempt, our business class is swollen with an acute sense of entitlement.

As it falls, Apple conveniently serves as example number-one.

They have evolved from the touchy-feely alternative to dry, corporate MicroSoft to become a monolith themselves, succeeding in the ultra-lucrative hand-held technology market via the iPods and iPhones so many of us can't tear our eyes from.

And so very, very much of the cash windfall they enjoy stays in-house. 

“We earned it” says a string of CEOs and board members, and so they have. Whether conservatives acknowledge it or not, in business-friendly America this is the sole justification required to defend their microscopic tax bill.

And yet when an external threat emerges which threatens the continued security and well-being of the country that has treated Apple with such largesse; one that requires Apple to backtrack on its marketing message and serve something other than its bottom line, what does Apple do?

It reacts with the sour petulance of an employee who's been told to accept a pay cut or lose their job.

I'm pretty sure that if I were caught in an act of industrial espionage in their Cupertino headquarters, Apple could open my iPhone very quickly. But act in service to something greater than themselves?

Not a chance.

This is the fruit the business-friendly tree bears. And despite that, we somehow remain (at least in the eyes of cash-drunk conservatives) not business-friendly enough.

Because of their monumental selfishness, I fervently hope the Department of Justice is able to take a big ol' bite out of Apple.

Either that, or let Apple be known as the official cell phone of ISIS.

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